A Block at a Time
As someone writing a weekly or biweekly column about a specific game, I do prefer a steady stream of content to be made available when there are no big updates regarding a game. This is basically my preference for EverQuest Next and EverQuest Next: Landmark, especially since any potential discussions I can have about the game before open beta will be shrouded in secrecy due to any non-disclosure agreements.
The block-by-block approach to revealing the world can also be a bit of a frustrating experience for some. When I write about the movements in ArcheAge, I realize more people want it sooner rather than later.
Sony Online Entertainment is savvy enough to sell the idea of an extravagant fantasy world-builder outside the realm of EQNext AND offer up a good timeline for the development and accessibility of Landmark to outsiders.
Showing Off the Tropics
Following the video showing off how the make the world using procedural content, I found out they actually released another short video after that. The video, which you’ll see below, is actually a short clip showing off the tropical building blocks you’l be using to terraform the proto-Norrath of Landmark (Proto-Norrath seems fitting given that it won’t exactly be the Norrath of EQNext).
I’m actually reminded of RIFT’s Telara when I saw the mock-ups they used in the video. At the same time, I’m also impressed that they have at least 4 different sets of skins to use for tropical-styled building, and I do hope they expand these with more building blocks.
If there’s one thing that strikes me as odd when it comes to Landmark, it’s probably the lack of information regarding introducing new skins for building things. It’s possible I may have missed a letter here or there that explains this point further, but I’m a bit torn as to the manner in which they should introduce new looks for a particular theme.
It’s one thing that threw me off the above video. As nice as it is to have at least four different skin types to use for a given theme (fire, tropical forest, snowy, etc.), I’m not sure what would be a good way for SOE to make money and yet keep the introduction of new skins fair.
If the game is good, and the potential is there, I can foresee people willing to shell out Station Cash for skin packs or themed bundles of skins and place-able items, or some variant thereof. I do think it would also be nice if there were free additions available for users who are saving up their SC for future player-made items.
The balancing act between making money and keeping the people who want to use Landmark as a personal playground happy cannot be understated. Should SOE end up selling new looks as the main money-making model for Landmark, it’d be great if they actually consider asking alpha and beta users what they think about the idea and about the prices.
Data science might say that they might get the most out of customers by doing X action for Y profit, but there are few precedents for selling cosmetic content in this particular manner before, so I certainly hope they trust the gut of the public just as much as any statistical information they can pick up from alpha and beta players.
That said, I would be more than willing to shell out some SC to learn how to create a rock-and-tree spider like the above screenshot.
To end today’s column, here’s Sony’s EQNext and Landmark teams wishing everyone well on this festive season! Cheers to all of you, and may the new year find you well!
Victor Barreiro Jr. / Victor Barreiro Jr. maintains The Devil’s Advocate column, as well as the ArcheAge and Everquest Next columns for MMORPG.com. He also writes for news website Rappler as a technology reporter. You can find more of his writings on Games and Geekery and on Twitter at @vbarreirojr.
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